Tuesday, April 29, 2008

two poetry prize comps with oddish conditions

Newcastle Poetry Prize entry form - closing date 4th July 2008 - stipulates in Conditions of entry #3. "The manuscript must be an original work, written in English, and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, or be under offer to any publisher. Presentation on the internet via blog or website constitutes publication for the purposes of the prize."

Max Harris Poetry Award entry form - closing 15th July 2008 - stipulates in Conditions of entry #12. "Poems must not contain offensive material that breaches the university's ethics regulations."

With regard to the former, yeah, I can understand that website and blogs would be considered as publishing, but do wonder how that could be checked by a judge or judges during their judging process (which is blind judging) and it would be difficult to check after the fact also, unless the contest judge/s (or admin folk) googles every poet's name and finds their sites and blogs and reads through all the entries to ensure that the poem (or part of the sequence/poem) has not appeared there (bit of a 'too hard an ask' for anyone gracious enough to judge expecting that of them) I would imagine, though, that as it is a condition of the prize, then someone will have to do it or else, it might come back to bite a few bums. The Newcastle Poetry Prize provides a substantial funding pot and is highly regarded by those that enter and those that win, so my point on this clause is that, if the clause is in place as a condition of entry, then there needs to be some way to ensure that that condition is supervised (policed yuk too harsh but...) overseen?? (rather than overlooked).

With regard to the Max Harris, well I'm not too sure what that #12 condition could mean. Does it mean swearing? does it mean libel and slander? does it mean overly political? does it mean ...? And as a condition, shouldn't it be spelled out more clearly, so that contestants know what condition they are breaching or complying with when they enter. I wonder what are the 'university's ethics regulations' and where would one get a look at them (and please, forget it if the regulations are longer than a page, too hard to read through an entire opus to establish whether one is in breach with an entry or not) - so how can these conditions be established and overseen?? (rather than overlooked) because if they mean don't use the words xyx or don't mention personal names of people or don't poke fun at this university or any other such thing, then they should spell it out, or at least give one a sense of what it is they mean.

I am not trying to 'knock' these comps, because they are both so beneficial to poets. I just think that conditions are shifting things, sometimes and that not a lot of checking does really go on, can't, it's the nature of the beast with blind judging and trust, that is, trusting the poet to send work that is in line with the conditions.

I remember judging an open poetry comp run by a regional university and awarding a winner (prize being money and publication later in the university journal) and a selection of highly commended and commended (prize being no money, but also publication in the university journal) and prior to the publication of the journal, saw that one of the entries had also won (money and a publication) in another comp which had a closing date of (almost) the same time for entries as the one I judged, and included the rules about 'not being on offer or submitted to any other comp' --- and this entry was one of the highly commended entries I had given, so this poet (pretty well-known) flew in the face of the conditions, got the poem entered in at least two comps, and won money in one, and got publication in both. I didn't say anything and I'm certain that the poet did not 'dob themselves' and the other comp people may or may not have known.
Perhaps, the challenge is, risk at one's own peril and mostly get away with it. Makes rules (or conditions) seem fit to be broken now doesn't it?

Friday, April 25, 2008

no safe way to judge or select

This is just a small bitch like an itch that needs scratching patching saying...

People get really pissed off if you don't pick their work and they think that you should have.
If names were not attached to submissions, they would perhaps not feel so despondent.
I know that when I selected work for foam:e issue # 5 I was very careful to focus on the poetry not the names of the poets who sent work in. I knew that I rejected the work of some very fine poets, but I didn't reject the poets. There is a difference and anyone in a position of judging or selecting knows this difference.

I've felt the odd cold shoulder from here...yes you can feel seething over the webwaves -but poetry is an open field full of fresh and foul air. I don't get personal about rejection, had too many rejects of my own work to worry about it. I just get busy and write better (more or less).

Virtual anthology on Brisbane's City Cats

I've had a poem selected for the Poem of the Week 2008 project - called it back from here, hear the hush - one of a small set I'm developing about the Brisbane that I grew up in, merged with the new Brisbane that I visit from time to time. These poems will be slow to develop and I'm stretching them back in time and forward in time, so they could be years in the making, sorta like memory is and the future is, at least that's what I'm aiming for.

Submissions were invited from Queensland Poets which expressed something fresh about the City of Brisbane and/or its river. Each accepted poem will be developed by 4UTV into a 30 second program to run for one week on the digital screen inside each of the ten Brisbane City Cat Ferries to a potential audience of 120,000 City Cat passengers. The project will run for a period of 6 months, starting in late March/ early April 2008.

The poem of the week project is a partnership between Queensland Poetry Festival Inc. and Brisbane City Council and 4UTV. Really happy to be part of this project, hope I get to visit and catch my poem during its week-long run.

finding time to find funding

I've been working on a very small grant application for a regional arts development fund (qld) application round. It is frustrating and time consuming and making me wonder if I really do need the money, maybe I should just research and write what I want and forget to ask for money. Why am I asking for money? Sometimes it helps...and now that I have no business income (which was hardly an income anyway) I guess that a small amount of grant money will assist me to get the project started, with an outcome that might be relevant or not. So, if I get the grant, will the work be better? thinking that maybe it will.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

at this instant in the audience

a full house, night parts as a curtain drawn, as an elbow bends.

a moon on the floor, a slanted thing on the object, the focus.

an opening floats in a thousand eyes, a thousand thousand.

everything surrounds everything else in the darkness.

an auditorium, a stage, the unknown (as yet) pinpoints in space.

symbols distinguishing, graphs, who speaks, who moves.

what longitude, latitude, what degree on the set.

positions, pathways, eyes signalling, light, objects.